Coefficient of Thermal Expansion

The coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of a material is a critical material characteristicwhen working in machine design. This measures the fractional change in size per degree change in temperature at a constant pressure. Materials with lower CTE indicate a lower change in size through a temperature gradient while materials with higher CTE exhibit the opposite reaction. 


At Carter Bearings, we specialize in extreme environment applications which regularly operate at high or cryogenic temperatures. Ensuring the bearing continues to have optimal performance at the operating temperature relies heavily on the stack-up of CTE within the system. If not carefully designed, dissimilar materials expanding or contracting can potentially eliminate the internal clearance and seize the bearings.


Below you will find the most common material we use on a regular basis for bearing design. Please reach out to our engineers to learn more about how we can optimize your bearing design.

Material Coefficient of Thermal Expansion [µm/m/°C ] & [10-6/K] Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (µin/in/°F)
52100 Chrome Steel 11.9 6.6
440C Stainless Steel 12.5 6.9
316 Stainless Steel 16 8.9
304 Stainless Steel 17.3 9.6
BG42 9.81 5.5
Stellite 6B 14.1 7.8
Cronidur 30 9.9 5.5
XD15NW 10.4 5.8
Zirconia 10 5.6
Silicon Nitride 2.8 1.6
Silicon Carbide 3.9 2.2
Alumnia 8.2 4.5
PEEK 55 30.6
PCTFE 70 38.9

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